Fort Wayne, IN-- The Komets swept both games of a home double-header against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits for the annual Vera Bradley Foundation Pink the Rink Weekend and gained four points to improve to 37-13-5 and 77 points after 53 games. The Komets rank second in the ECHL and lead the Western Conference with a .726 winning percentage with 19 games and six weeks remaining in 2017-18.
The Komets wore pink jerseys for both games in honor of breast cancer awareness in partnership with the Vera Bradley Foundation. The jerseys were auctioned off after the games with proceeds going to help fight breast cancer and promote awareness for early detection and treatment.
The Komets enter week 21 riding a 12-game point streak (11-0-1), a current league-high five-game winning streak, a four-game home winning streak and a current league-high four-game road win string.
Friday the Komets claimed game one of the weekend series against Greenville 4-1. Fort Wayne's Zac Larraza opened the scoring at 13:17 of the first period. Austin McKay answered 88 seconds later to knot the game at 1-1. The Komets responded with two goals in the second frame by Shawn Szydlowski and Dennis Kravchenko for a 3-1 lead at the second intermission. No scoring in the third period until Greenville pulled goaltender Ty Rimmer in favor of an extra attacker and Jason Binkley hit the empty net with 14 seconds remaining to seal the Fort Wayne win. Komet goaltender Michael Houser claimed victory making 14 saves on 15 shots.
Saturday the Komets and Swamp Rabbits battled to a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation. Szydlowski gave the Komets a 1-0 lead at 7:04 of the first period on the power play but Greenville rallied with a pair of power play goals 58 seconds apart for a 2-1 lead at the end of the first stanza. Artur Tyanulin pulled the Komets even at 4:35 of the second period. After a scoreless third period, Tyanulin scored his second goal of the game and 16th of the season by beating netminder Rimmer with a back-hander at 2:51 of overtime for his third game winner of the season. Houser earned the win stopping 20 shots in regulation and adding two saves in the extra frame as the Komets sweep the home weekend series and the season series against Greenville.
This week the Komets are on the road for four games starting at Wichita Tuesday night at 8:05pm ET. The Komets visit Kansas City for a pair of games Friday and Saturday at 8:05pm ET each night. The Komets will cap the week with a 5:05pm ET faceoff at Quad City Sunday.
Komet leaders-- Shawn Szydlowski leads with 26 goals, six game winning goals, 38 assists, and leads the ECHL with 64 points...Komets round out the top five in the league in plus/minus including Curtis Leonard who leads with +35, Shawn Szydlowski with +34, Gabriel Desjardins with +29, Bobby Shea with +28 and Cody Sol with +27...Sol leads with 105 penalty minutes and tops Fort Wayne defensemen with seven goals...Ryan Culkin leads Fort Wayne defensemen with 25 assists and 34 points... Michael Houser ranks second among league goaltenders with a career season high 24 wins and 2,080 minutes.
Shooting the puck-- The Komets have out-shot their opponents in 11 straight games (461-305), are 28-9-2 when out-shooting opponents and lead the league with a per-game average of 37.8 shots. The Komets lead the league with a total of 2,004 shots or 37.81 per game after 53 games.
Serving great seconds and thirds-- The Komets have out-shot their opponents in the second period 704-504 (200 shot differential) and have out-shot their opponents in the third period 622-504 (118 shot differential). In addition, the Komets have out-scored their opponents in the second period 75-43 (32 goal differential) and have out-scored opponents in the third period 94-52 (42 goal differential). The Komets lead the league with a per-game average of 4.26 goals and continue to be unbeaten when leading after the second period (27-0-0).
Iron Man-- Defenseman Curtis Leonard is Fort Wayne's iron man after appearing in all 53 games to date. Leonard skated 65 of 72 Komet games last season.
Komet streaks-- Trevor Cheek's point streak ended Saturday night at a team season high eight games (7g, 3a) but his road point-scoring streak continues at four games (4g, 2a)....Artur Tyanulin has a four-game road point streak (3g, 3a).... goaltender Michael Houser has a six-game winning streak and a five-game home winning streak.
Milestones-- Goalie Michael Houser eclipsed his old career season high of 22 wins with his 23rd and 24th wins Friday and Saturday.....Ryan Culkin has skated 99 ECHL career games....Bobby Shea has appeared in 198 ECHL career games...Garrett Thompson has dished 97 career assists....the Komets have won 998 road games during their 66-year history.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Tuesday, Komets at Wichita Thunder (29-21-6, 64 points)-- The Komets make their first and only trip of the season to Wichita Tuesday for an 8:05pm ET faceoff at the INTURST Bank Arena (13,000). The Komets lead the season series 2-0-0. The series concludes when Wichita visits Fort Wayne again Saturday, March 24. The Thunder hold third place in the Mountain division trailing first-place Colorado by 12 points and leading fourth-place Tulsa by eight points. Wichita is 4-2-2 in their last eight games but 0-2-2 in the last four. The Thunder are coming off a pair of losses to Utah (0-1-1) Friday and Saturday.
Friday and Saturday, Komets at Kansas City Mavericks (27-26-2, 56 points)-- This Friday and Saturday the Komets will skate their only two games of the season at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena (5,800) in Independence, Missouri. Both games start at 8:05pm ET. The Komets are 1-1-1 against the division rival Mavericks after three meetings. The series finishes with a Kansas City visit to Fort Wayne Wednesday, March 28. The Mavericks won both tilts of a home double-header against Allen over the weekend to stop an eight-game winless streak. Kansas City will host Rapid City Tuesday before their home double-header against the Komets Friday and Saturday.
Sunday, Komets at Quad City Mallards (19-31-4, 42 points)-- The Komets face the old rival Mallards at Quad City's TaxSlayer Arena (5,200) Sunday at 5:05pm ET for the final meeting of the season. The Komets lead the season series 7-0-1 after the last meeting, a 4-1 win in Fort Wayne Feb. 17. The Komets are a perfect 3-0-0 after three previous trips to Quad City. The Mallards enter the week on a three-game losing skid and will host Utah Wednesday and Friday. Quad City travels to Cincinnati Saturday before returning home to host the Komets Sunday.
Championship Hall of Fame Weekend March 10 and 11-- The Komets will celebrate all nine Fort Wayne league championships and induct five new members into the Komet Hall of Fame during the Championship Hall of Fame Weekend March 10 and 11. Saturday, March 10, when the Komets host Cincinnati at 7:30pm, it will be Championship Night as the Komets celebrate nine league crowns by honoring players and personnel from the championship seasons. Sunday, March 11, the NHL's Stanley Cup will be in town for Fort Wayne's Komet Hall of Fame Night. Five new members will be inducted into the Komet Hall of Fame prior to the Komets/Kalamazoo game at 5pm.
Get your tickets early-- Tickets are on sale at the Coliseum Ticket Office. Save on Group tickets and Flex tickets on sale at the Komet office at 1010 Memorial Way in Fort Wayne. For more information visit the Komet office, Komets.com or call 260-483-0011.
Komet Hockey on WOWO-- Komet games are scheduled to air on WOWO AM 1190 and FM 107.5. All radio broadcasts also stream live at Komets.com presented by OmniSource Radio Recycle. Fans are invited to follow the action as Shane Albahrani handles the play-by-play.